How do you get eidetic memory?


Quick Answer

Eidetic memory cannot be learned or developed. Unlike the phenomenon called photographic memory, which has never been shown to actually exist, an eidetic memory occurs as a vivid afterimage that stays in the mind's eye for several minutes before fading away. The ability is found in 2 to 10 percent of young children, but usually begins to fade by the age of 6, and is rarely seen in adults.

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Full Answer

The terms eidetic and photographic are often confused, especially in popular culture, where possessors of extraordinary memories are often portrayed as memorizing whole pages of a text after only a single glance, then reciting them back flawlessly. Such abilities have rarely been demonstrated in the real world and even more rarely under the controlled conditions of a laboratory. Indeed, many scientists question whether such naturally occurring abilities exist at all.

There are people with unusually good memories, and the memory can certainly be improved by the use of techniques such as mnemonics. Many of the individuals credited with having eidetic or photographic memories make use of such techniques themselves, either consciously or subconsciously. In rare cases, phenomenal feats of memory have been linked to autism, but it's not known whether such savants are utilizing eidetic memories or other techniques.

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